Good Bye Corolla!

I did something crazy yesterday. I traded in my 2010 Toyota Corolla for a 2013 Toyota Venza.

It was such a quick decision, that I didn’t really get time to say goodbye to my Yoda.

I bought the Corolla (Thanks to Mike’s help) in 2011 because my 98 Chevy Lumina was on its last leg. I needed something more reliable, especially with all the (unknown at the time) traveling I would be doing.

I drove that car to practice a few times a week. Taking along skaters and officials if they needed a ride. I drove that car to many bout days in Detroit, (that’s where I’m pretty sure I bent my rim, but thankfully I made it home).

The Corolla took its first derby road trip to Niagara Falls for the last North Central Regionals. I remember asking Hi-Death to grab something from the back seat, when he returned he was utterly shocked at how clean it was, the item in question was the only thing in the back seat. And if you’ve ever been in HD’s car, you’ll know why that’s funny.

Over the next 3 years, I would drive that car to a number of tournaments. Playoffs in Kalamazoo, Ft. Wayne, Richmond, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Charleston. As well as ECDX in Philadelphia. It was in Philadelphia where I had my one and only emergency service repair. Every time I took the Corolla in for it’s oil change and regular maintenance, the service guys would ask where I was headed next.

Once I had Colt, the driving cut down quite a bit. I was no longer driving to practice. No derby road trips. It took 9 months for me to need an oil change.

When Colt was little, the infant carrier fit nicely in the back seat. A little snug but ok. Unfortunately, the bigger he got the harder it was to lug that seat around and I had to move into a stationary seat. Only that took up more space, and limited the amount of room to get Colt in and out.

It was time.

I went to the dealership for my oil change. Figured I’d test drive the Venza while I waited. There was no way they were going to come back with a price in my budget. Oh but they did. And after a long evening negotiating with Mike. And another long day negotiating with the dealer, I picked up my new car yesterday evening.

I got really lucky. When the dealer accepted the trade in, they listed the vehicle as an LE. But this was most definitely a luxury car with all the bells and whistles. So they had to honor the reduced price. 4 grand off the top as a mistake, 5 grand for my trade, a great interest rate, it was just my size.
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It has a sun roof, and an extra roof window that doesn’t open, but I love all the natural light. It’s keyless and has a self closing trunk. The backseat is much bigger, so it’s easier to get Colt in and out of. Leather seats, personal heating/cooling and seat warmers. It’s more luxurious than I’m used to.

I love it. And it really is going to be a great car for a long while. And hopefully soon we can get something for Mike too.

Colt’s First Trip Up North!

Mike has been waiting for the day he got to take Colt up north since before we knew he was Colt. 

This weekend all odds were in our favor. No obligations. We were all finally on the tail end of our illness. And the weather was just right.

While I picked up Peanut from daycare, Mike was at home quickly packing the minivan. I’d say we had a ton more to pack than usual, but if you’ve ever seen how much Mike usually packs to go north, I’d be wrong.

Still, it was a new challenge. Bring more than enough diapers, milk, and bottles to store what I’d be pumping. But not too much milk cause I would be making plenty enough.  And let’s not forget my pump. The bassinet, and the Kick n’Play. And more than enough clothes. The stroller, the carrier and of course the car seat. And don’t forget the dog and the baby!

I actually had to consider bringing extra clothes myself. I’ve been spit up, pee’d, and pooped on enough lately to not take that extra pair of jeans.

The only thing I managed to forget was my phone charger.

We hit the road by around 6:30, and Colt slept the entire 3 hour drive.  I was fearing that he’d be up late, but surprisingly enough, a little time to kick off some energy and we were all in bed by 11.

The next day, Mike had some chores to get done, so I played with Colt indoors. By the time Mike was about done, it had warmed up nicely so I put Colt in his stroller and went out. It was at that same time that our neighbors, Kenny and Dawn, walked over to meet the little guy.  Dawn made him a cute little stuffed elephant. 

After a quick snack, we got Colt strapped to Mike’s chest in the carrier and went out for a walk.  I found a deer antler that had been shed this spring and we stopped to take a selfie near the pine row.

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When we got back, Colt and I took a nap while Mike did some more chores. We later went for a quick drive and showed Colt the floodplains where one day he’ll fish for pike, and hunt ducks.

That evening, we visited with Kenny and Dawn. And Colt was just a happy, content little boy the entire time. Soon it was time for bed again.

Sunday, Mike had some more work to do, so Colt and I stayed back at the cabin, playing, napping, and again waiting for the outdoors to warm up a bit.

Unfortunately, while the sun was nice and warm, the wind was strong and cold. I bundled Colt up and let him nap in his stroller, in the sun, but out of the wind, while Mike and I did a little yard clean up.

For lunch, we headed into town and stopped at the local bar for burgers. Colt slept through his first trip to Reds. A place his daddy has been going for almost 30 years.

Soon enough it was time to get packed and headed home. Colt seemed to have a great time hanging out with his mommy and especially his daddy. But I actually think it was Mike who had the most fun, reminiscing about all the time he spent at Camp Grief as a kid and looking forward to experiencing it all again with his own son.

Champs!

The flight to Nashville was pretty much the same as any other flight, though it was a bonus to have so many friends and league mates aboard. 

Once we’d settled in at the hotel, Circuit Broad and I found another dozen officials, packed ourselves into various cars and headed to dinner.  An amazing family style dinner with great food, fun with rules and the greatest people I’ve met from around the country. 

Day one started with a little time to sleep in, as the opening ceremonies did not start until noon. It wouldn’t be a derby morning, without a cup of Hi-Death’s coffee.  A great start to a great day!

Opening Ceremonies were nice, not too extravagant, but it was very cool to see all of the teams, from all around the world.

My crew was assigned only one game Friday, the last game of the day, Victoria Roller Derby League vs. Minnesota Roller Girls. It was a long wait to 8pm, but I had plenty of time to catch up with friends, eat some cookies, visit some vendors, and see some great derby.

The night closed with a few of us hanging around the hotel lobby. Crew assignments were distributed and once again my crew received some of the best games of the day. Starting at 4pm with VRDL vs London Brawling.

Many more great games of derby on Saturday, and the opportunity to visit with my father and a few other family members. It was great being able to share not only roller derby with them, but also my pregnancy.

I finished the night with the last game of the day, Gotham vs. London. Another successful Lineup Tracking team with Stacy K.

After a quick shower and some dinner, Circuit Broad and I made our way to the lobby, where NSOs and “hackers” from another convention started a dance party. We were up too late, and got little sleep, but it was worth it to hang out one more time with some great people.
Sunday, I appropriately ended my roller derby career, entering lineups for my Detroit Derby Girls competing for first place in the Division 2 against the Rideau Valley Roller Girls.

144 games over 3 years, finishing my career at the International WFTDA Championships. I couldn’t ask for a better time.

And now on to new adventures!

100 More Days

A day late.
There are 99 more days til my due date.
We’ve made progress on quite a few projects. Mike has most of our kitchen cabinets painted. The baby shower invitations have been mailed. The baby furniture has been bought, just waiting on its arrival. Still need to clear out more of the non baby things from the baby’s room. 

I’ve had a few dreams where I felt unprepared for being a mom, but I think a lot of that anxiety will diminish after the shower. I have also had some great dreams of tickling little tiny baby feet, so I’m getting excited to meet our little one.

Today, I leave on an airplane for my last derby trip. I don’t know if I’ll ever get back on the road again if it isn’t to take my little one on great adventures.  Roller Derby has been a huge part of my life for the past 3 years and I have mixed feelings about retirement.

Retirement? I am at least taking this season off to get acclimated to being a mom. Not saying you won’t see me around the flat track, I’ll still be supporting my Stat Army & Detroit Derby Girls. I’ve made too many friends and invested too much of my heart to walk away just yet.  But I’m taking a much needed break from the travel, and the drama, and the stress. 

And what better way to retire than to finish the season off NSOing at the International WFTDA Championships.  I worked hard to earn my place at that track and I’m proud and honored to be given the opportunity.

I’ll get into more about derby when I get back. 

For now, I’m heading back to bed for a little more sleep before I have to leave. I’ll lay there for a while feeling baby kicks and treasuring the few days we have left and trying not to worry about what still needs to get done. 

Itzy Bitzy Goes to Playoffs

It’s been crazy busy at home and work over the past few weeks. Between working on the house, an increased caseload at work, and traveling for derby, there hasn’t been much time to write.

Two weeks ago, Circuit Broad and I drove down to Charleston, WV for the last of the the WFTDA Division 1 playoffs.

Once again, I was at the Lineup Tracking table, entering player numbers, and listing trips to the penalty box. I got to work with a great new crew of NSOs that I had not worked with before. There were challenges with seeing some jerseys but overall I’d call it a success.

NSOing while pregnant has had its disadvantages of course. I have to use the restroom more often, eat more frequently, and keep antacids in my stat bag. But seeing all of my friends from near and far, and all the belly rubs have been worth it. So far. I didn’t get to after party as much, or stay up too late. It’s a lot harder to get to sleep these days and I need all the sleep I can get.

At home, Mike and I have been busy getting the house ready for baby. Last night, Mike hung new blinds in the kitchen and laundry room. Not having the neighbor’s bright light shining into the baby’s room will be great. Mike also got shelves up in the garage, so I can pack and store some stuff I’ve had in the future nursery.

Itzy Bitzy has also been busy lately, busy moving around! Monday it felt like he was doing barrel rolls in there. So much so that by the time I got home from work, I felt like I’d been on a roller coaster.

Today, we see the doctor again, and I’m sure it’ll be more good news. 17 more weeks to go!

A Hunt For A Sunrise

Mike’s alarm went off at 4:30 this morning. It took all I had to get up after him, eat, and dress for the morning.

Rubber boots, water resistant coat and pants, and layers to keep warm. 

Cup of coffee in hand, I surprised Mike by being ready at 5. We loaded into the Toyota, canoe strapped to the roof, and made our way to the state land. 

When we got to the marsh, it was darker than I have ever seen.  The stars were bright, and the moon just a sliver. 

By 6am, we were loaded into the canoe and drifting into the marsh.  The air was cold against my cheeks. We listened for signs of ducks. 

We made our way to the beaver dam, where Mike flattened some grass and made a spot for me to sit. He paddled back out into the open water and left an assortment of duck decoys. 

He was there to scope out next weekend’s hunting spot. I was there to enjoy the sunrise. 

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The water was loud, but as the sun began to climb, we could see wood ducks off in the distance. 

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It wasn’t long though, before the morning fog began to creep in and by 7am, you couldn’t see more than 40 feet. 

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Mike went back out around 8, to gather his decoys.  And we took a paddle around the flood lands. 

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It was a great morning for a canoe ride.
And it’s sure to be a great day in Northern Michigan. 

Playoffs!

wpid-wp-1409268498599.jpeg Playoff season has started in the WFTDA.

Last weekend, Circuit Broad, Bustah Mugg, Robyn D’Cradle and I made our way into Canada for the second round of Division 2 playoffs.

CB, Bustah and I roomed with Nora Lief.  And it was like a good old fashioned slumber party.  Staying up late to giggle and gossip.  Sharing stories and secrets.

The tournament was amazing with hard fought games, won with close scores.  Our officiating crews were top notch. Some of the best in the world.

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At night, we found food and talked stats and scores with the Announcers.

I made a dozen new friends and wouldn’t trade the weekend for anything.

Monday we headed back home, with our patches and swag, and enough butter tarts to share.  And gifts from Aunt Nora.

And now I’m back home, enjoying the quiet and feeling the little flutters that could be Itzy Bitzy.  Can’t say it’s been a bad week.

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On the Go: Fourth of July Weekend

Mike, Diesel and I headed up north to Camp Grief over the weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July along with our neighbor’s wedding.

The weather was perfect. The ceremony was quick and to the point. The couple were excited and had a great time.  There was great food (a pig roast), and a lot of fireworks (so many).

The rest of the weekend was spent hanging with friends and family, doing a little garage sale visiting and generally having a good time. 

On the Go: Back At Home

After spending 3.5 hours walking circles at Heathrow waiting for it to open, I grabbed a shitty coffee and one last tea cake and mailed my last post cards.  I got on my flight to Amsterdam and only really remember waking up being handed a cheese sandwich. It was a good cheese sandwich but was really glad I got some sleep.

I had to race all the way across the Amsterdam airport to get to my gate to do security once again and was very thankful that I had checked my bag rather than dealing with it again.

The flight back to Detroit was long. I watched the Coen Bros. film, “A Serious Man” , followed by “Juno” and then “Saving Mr. Banks.” There was also a crying baby that was fun,  and a lady offering advice on how to quiet it.  Oh and gelato.

Landed in Detroit on time, with no hassle finding my bag or getting through customs. Jack picked me up and drove me home where I had a nice long shower and have started some laundry.

Glad to be home. 

On the Go: London Day 10

Day 9 Bonus: after we got back in our room and was ready to settle in for the night, Meryl stopped by and said she had the Detroit Pistoffs vs. Devil’s Night Dames home game streaming on her phone. Cookie and I joined her and Kraken in their room to listen to the bout.

It was so nice to hear home and to know that everything seemed to be going well.  The Pistoffs won, which determined that the D*Funk All Stars will be going up against the Grand Prix Madonnas at Champs. The Grudge Match is still yet to be determined. 

Today, is my last official day in England.  I slept in, had breakfast and barely had time to settle into bout game day before having to walk to the venue.

I was Box Managing the first game of the day, Detroit vs. Toronto. Detroit kept a decent lead and managed to get a win. Though the box was busy, the 30 second penalties really kept the crazy at bay. 

I did have to give 2 misconduct penalties,  and had a weird jammer bounce with an inactive jammer, but otherwise it went as well as I could hope. 

After a two hour break, Detroit played London again.  This time, I was able to sit in the stands with a few other officials, sans stripes and pinks, and cheer for my Detroit Derby Girls.

Lastly, I got to lineup track for the Rocky vs. Toronto game.  I was happy to not be in the box for that one. 

After the little award ceremony, I headed back to the hotel and gathered my stuff.  My new NSO friend Mary, was kind enough to drive me into London.

She ran me past Big Ben, the BBC, and Piccadilly Circus.  We also stopped to snag photos at Abbey Road and across the river from The London Eye. 

And now here I am, sitting in Heathrow Airport a few hours too early, eager to be home, but wishing I could spend just a little more time. 

See you soon, America!